Global patterns of workplace productivity for people with depression

Absenteeism and presenteeism costs across eight diverse countries
Purpose: Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Research suggests that by far, the greatest contributor to the overall economic impact of depression is loss in productivity; however, there is very little research on the costs of depression outside of Western high-income countries. Thus, this study examines the impact of depression on workplace productivity across eight diverse countries.
Methods: We estimated the extent and costs of depression-related absenteeism and presenteeism in the workplace across eight countries: Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, South Africa, and the USA. We also examined the individual, workplace, and societal factors associated with lower productivity.
Results: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the impact of depression on workplace productivity across a diverse set of countries, in terms of both culture and GDP. Mean annual per person costs for absenteeism were lowest in South Korea at $181 and highest in Japan ($2674). Mean presenteeism costs per person were highest in the USA ($5524) and Brazil ($5788). Costs associated with presenteeism tended to be 5–10 times higher than those associated with absenteeism.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that the impact of depression in the workplace is considerable across all countries, both in absolute monetary terms and in relation to proportion of country GDP. Overall, depression is an issue deserving much greater attention, regardless of a country's economic development, national income or culture.

Source: Evans-Lacko, S. & Knapp, M. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol (2016).

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